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Teacher misconduct

24 May 2022

Part 5 of the Schools Bill broadens the regulatory scope of the Teaching Regulation Agency to investigate and prohibit individuals from working as teachers. It is the first time these powers have been substantively amended since 2012.

Paragraph 65(2) permits the investigation of teachers who work in a wider range of settings including FE colleges and online education training providers. This is an important development and levels the playing field in terms of safeguarding children nationally who access education in other ways. The amendment also allows misconduct that has occurred at any time to be investigated in place of the current provision which has been interpreted to limit the power to only considering allegations where an individual is working as a teacher at the time of the misconduct or the referral.

Paragraph 65(4) provides further definition to the meaning of an “online education provider” to address organisations who may provide the majority of a child’s education via online provision and includes children both of compulsory school age and under the age of 19. This amendment may be seen as timely in light of the developments in the education sector during the course of the pandemic and the choice of a greater number of parents to home school children using alternative means of education.

Paragraph 65(5) resolves a lacuna in the current regulations that precludes the Department of Education (DfE) from investigating allegations where the misconduct may have been uncovered by another arms’ length body under the umbrella of the DfE. So, for example, where misuse of schools funds are identified by the ESFA, under the current powers a direct internal referral to the Teaching Regulation Agency has not been possible.

Paragraph 65(6) ensures that not only can teachers who work in the broader range of institutions set out at Paragraph 65(2) be subject to regulatory oversight, but the employers themselves subject to provide information to the Teaching Regulation Agency where such individuals are dismissed or resign in circumstances where dismissal would otherwise have been considered. This should further serve to improve the safeguarding of children and maintenance of public confidence in the profession. Similarly, the word ‘employed’ has been broadened to ‘or is engaged’ to ensure that individuals who are subject to alternative contractual arrangements do not avoid scrutiny.

Training and events

6Jul

New guidance on exclusions - what you need to know ON24 webinar platform

The department for Education is releasing new guidance on exclusions and suspensions, making changes to the behaviour, suspension and exclusion framework and guidance. Join us on 6 July as we explain the proposed changes and help you understand how they will affect you and your school.

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Focus on...

Guides

Developing a whole school approach to flexible working

Timewise recently conducted a Teaching Pioneers Programme in eight secondary schools across three multi-academy trusts which Browne Jacobson was able to support, along with others.

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Published articles

What changing government policy means for faith academies

The much-anticipated Schools Bill has finally been published and a significant section of it deals specifically with putting into legislation certain protections and guarantees historically granted to the faith academies sector.

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Understanding the three major changes to Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022

This webinar is suitable for senior leaders in education settings, including CEOs, COOs and CFOs, head teachers and principals, directors and heads of HR, designated safeguarding leads, governors and Trustees.

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Legal updates

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022: Online searches for shortlisted candidates

The two biggest changes in the new safeguarding guidance revolve around sourcing high quality governor and trustee training and the new requirement to carry out online searches for shortlisted candidates. This article focuses on how and when to carry out online searches. In the coming week we will follow up with everything you need to consider when sourcing high quality governor or trustee training.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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